Feeds

back to article University of Western Sydney hands out 11k iPads

Every new student at Australia’s University of Western Sydney (UWS) will be given an iPad next year. Founded in 1989, UWS has six campuses spread across Western Sydney, a sprawling region characterised as the working-class heart of the city, as opposed to the more affluent coastal suburbs. The university is probably not many new …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

Thumb Down

The purpose of this "flexible learning environment" plan is to reduce staff (who are contractors, almost no tenure at UWS and UTS) contact hours. You're essentially being enrolled at an "on premises online diploma mill."

6
0
Silver badge
Meh

Will the students leave thousands in debt or just a monthly payment to Apple?

2
0
Silver badge
Facepalm

@ ChrisInAStrangeLand -

I think that this is not the only reason. There's usually also a lot of 'my boss and his boss are in the same yachting club and my boss suggested that his kit is probably better [winkwink]' involved.

I mean, really now, there must be something fishy with this. All over the world companies are more and more going towards Buy-Your-Own-Device, and down under this doesn't work?

2
2
Anonymous Coward

Re: @ ChrisInAStrangeLand -

The point is Apple make it easy to create the documents / materials so it's very appealing. They are also typically more secure (an important point) and lastly suspect many do not already have one to BYOD - so this way everyone gets the same / easier to support.

0
8
Anonymous Coward

Ever thought of the positives - i.e. could save money, give them better access to the information, improve the quality of the information. How many uni's still photocopy notes etc. - waste of time, cost, eco unfriendly etc.

The principle of this is very sound - the only objection people really have is that they chose Apple devices - if it had been a truckload of South Korean's finest then that would have been ok even though any cost difference over 3 years is almost negligible.

1
5
Anonymous Coward

a truckload of South Korean's (sic) finest

But if it was South Korea's finest it would be running Android. And though I hate Google that would mean that there are a massive number of alternative devices running the same OS (or similar....) meaning the university wouldn't be tied in to one manufacturer but could choose from just about anyone else. Considering the current state of Apple would you want to bet on them still being the leading tablet manufacturer in 3 years? If so you've not been paying attention...

3
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: a truckload of South Korean's (sic) finest

Would you honestly pick Android with it's fragmentation and security issues. They probably picked Apple for exactly that reason - it's more of a standard which makes development simpler.

I'd feel more confident that apple would still be supporting the devices we bought in their 3-5 year lifespan whereas you could buy a boat load of Androids to find a new version comes out and your old version is as welcome as a poo in a jacuzzi.

3
8
JDX
Gold badge

Re: a truckload of South Korean's (sic) finest

Why does it matter if Apple are the leading company in 3 years... iPad will still be a big player for sure. iPad just makes the decision simple... no committee needed to choose which Android tablets, etc, etc.

And since iPhone is STILL the leading phone in the public view, why WON'T iPad be in 3 years?

2
4
Anonymous Coward

Re: why WON'T iPad be in 3 years?

Good point, but why WILL iPad be in 3 years?

1
0
WTF?

Re: a truckload of South Korean's (sic) finest

People I know think the Galaxy S3 is the best phone, mostly because they can read an form opinions for themselves. I'm not sure about your statement RE: "no committee needed", you sound like a poster boy for ignorance. :/

2
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: a truckload of South Korean's (sic) finest

>> But if it was South Korea's finest it would be running Android. And though I hate Google that would mean that there are a massive number of alternative devices running the same OS (or similar....)

Guessing that is exactly what they wanted to avoid.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: a truckload of South Korean's (sic) finest

I'll take that bet.

Dweeb

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: a truckload of South Korean's (sic) finest

>> People I know...

... in the Samsung PR department?

0
0
Anonymous Coward

In the UK too, quite a few colleges and universities are doing [or considering] this kind of thing now. Since education has become just another commodity, it can make economic sense:

Slap the cost of supplying the new iPad onto the course fees and then offer all new students a "free" shiny-shiny when they enrol. Since most students think of their student loans in a similar way to how Jeremy Kyle Show guests think of their credt cards [ie. free money that will magically pay itself back at some point in the future], it's a pretty good tactic.

At my own college, a year ago, there was talk of bumping up course fees by £500, so we could entice new students in with promises of a "free" college trip to somewhere nice in Europe.

7
0
Anonymous Coward

There are huge savings to be had as well as benefits of making the materials better / easier to update - printing course materials and notes is very time consuming. £400 for a device over 3 years is around £2.50 a week and will probably save far more.

0
0
Silver badge

Free WiFi?

"WiFi access on the University’s six campuses will be free for those issued with an iPad"

Does this mean non-iPad users have to pay for WiFi?

What kind of cheapskate Uni doesn't provide free WiFi for all its students, staff and visitors?

3
0

This post has been deleted by its author

Re: Free WiFi?

"What kind of cheapskate Uni doesn't provide free WiFi for all its students, staff and visitors?"

The kind of university that's in Australia, where data is expensive. USyd, UTS and UNSW have all had restricted access imhe but I think MQ had open access.

Also, I think the UWS-bashing at the start was unnecessarily snooty. UWS has got some great programmes in law and education that are well-regarded in specific areas of the industry, for example, and there are plenty of second-rate grads in hopeless courses being churned out by USyd and UNSW. There's no need to condescend, Simon Sharwood...

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: Free WiFi?

UWS bashing? I thought, the second paragraph was a concise and reasonably neutral piece of background for those not familiar with Sydney's geography.

But, I have to add... a Sydneysider feeling condescended to? .... suck it up, princess!

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Too close

Maybe they can save even more money by getting Siri to mark assessments and exams.

AC for job protection.... tenuous anyway as a casual.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

It has it's merits

But there's prior research on blended learning with iPads

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAl28d6tbko

1
0

Oh Lord, another costly and doomed attempt to push 'technology' into the classroom, as if that'll somehow transform education (yes, I get the cynical bribe bit as well). If a technology is useful for education, it'll just get adopted. The most important technology for teachers and the one that transformed teaching is practically invisible (like all truly successful technologies): the photocopier.

6
0
Anonymous Coward

Yes that's right let's stay as we are as that's the way to move forward as a society. Tell you what why did we get rid of those chalk boards / papyrus / whatever and who needs this new fangled electrickery - crack out some candles and the kids can do a day in the mills before coming to school.

1
1
Anonymous Coward

The potential is huge - an iPad can do so much more than a conventional book (multimedia, animated etc.), teacher notes can be quickly and easily distributed, textbooks and other materials easily updated. think education will be a massive market for Apple.

2
6
Anonymous Coward

ffs

Obvious apple shill is obvious.

1
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: ffs

Obvious 'sick as a parrot' Samsung PR guy or gal.

1
2
JDX
Gold badge

Re: ffs

You've got to be a real prize chump if you think Apple needs to spend money getting people to say nice things about iPad on forums.

1
0
ql
Meh

Are iPads the real story?

I'm a (rather mature) student of the University of the Highlands and Islands, a Uni covering about 12 or 15 colleges over an area larger than Belgium (to be pedantically Reg-unit compliant.) I am over 100 miles from the nearest college, excepting the one 30 miles away across the Minch. All my lectures are over video conference* links, so students may be spread over multiple sites while the lecturer may be alone in a room somewhere. The geographic spread also means other systems need to support learning, and a "Virtual Learning Environment" is used to provide sources for lecture material etc. Even social networking is catered for.

The point is, these are all technology services that make it possible, not dependant the devices I use to access them. Regarding texts, a lot of my texts have been available as ebooks, but I have found it very difficult to use ebooks as reference material, when you want to browse to a particular place in the multiple books. Nothing beats the real thing for that, though if it's just books that need to be read, ebooks are a good alternative. The latest fad of ebooks from the library I find worrying too - the ebook vendors seems to me to be trying to take over the function of the librarian, but a faceless corporate service is not the way to dleiver such a service, from the students' perspective anyway.

* - I use a Tandberg 800 at home over an internet connection, but the VC admins were happy for me to use Ekiga on my linux laptop as an H323 client as well - very inclusive.

3
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: Are iPads the real story?

I disagree about ebooks - I find an ebook superior - usually quicker to find the information, can vary the font / size (better accessibility) and I don't break my back carrying an iPad that can carry all my text books in less than the size / weight of one. eBooks can also be updated if there are errors or as information changes (depending on the subject this can be important) and lastly you can get the information within seconds downloaded direct to your device and sync'd across all your devices if you have more than one.

Really fail to see much benefit of 'paper' books these days unless you are on a desert island.

As for the choice of device - as a university it will be easier and cheaper if everyone has the same device and when you go BYOD or Android you have a ton of different screen sizes, versions etc. to contend with.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Are iPads the real story?

Tandberg 800 - that's great if you are in a fixed location - but when when an iPad does it all and has a built in camera at no extra cost. That Tandberg 800 probably cost whoever bought it as much as an iPad.

1
3
Anonymous Coward

Re: Are iPads the real story?

The point being made is that the technology should be device agnostic. Students shouldn't be obliged to use the most expensive brand of device to access their course materials.

4
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Are iPads the real story?

You are looking at initial purchase cost not factoring in the TCO. Apple devices typically last / are supported for longer, the support is better and developing for a single (and the most popular) platform is cheaper.

2
3
ql
Thumb Up

Re: Are iPads the real story?

Thanks - that's what I was getting at.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Are iPads the real story?

Android users hate the TCO angle as most companies agree the purchase cost of the device is usually the smaller cost of owning / supporting the device over 3 years. I've seen IT departments cross charge to other departments more than a laptop costs to buy to actually 'set it up' and even more to 'support' it each year.

TCO is hugely important when you are using these in an organisation. I don't even see BYOD catching on all that much as it's often as cheap just to buy them a device than deal with all the issues many different devices brings with it.

£400 for a device over 3+ years is effectively nothing compared to the other costs.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Are iPads the real story?

Well the cost of the devices are paid for by the uni and they probably justify that by cost savings by using the devices. Does not take a lot to save £300-400 per student over a 3 year period. That is in addition to being able to provide better, more easily updatable materials etc.

0
1
Silver badge

Re: Are iPads the real story?

Well the cost of the devices are paid for by the uni

Nope, the customer (student) pays for everything.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Are iPads the real story?

Students are not paying for it - at least not directly - the cost will be born out of savings the uni makes in not having to print / copy / distribute the same information they can do electronically.

0
0
Thumb Down

Re: Are iPads the real story?

The paper vs e-book is very clearly explained in the original post - there are different requirements for reading and for reference. Having a number of books open and flicking back and to (what is needed for reference) is far easier with paper - and you are not carrying these around as this is being done at home or in your office etc.

Besides, with a tablet there are serious issues with multi-tasking and having multiple windows open. I have two screens and still have problems when drafting/editing and need multiple references to look up as I work. I have an iPad and it isn't useful for my work precisely because of the need to switch between programs and documents - as far as I know, the other tablets are similar (my phone is Android). Other people have different requirements so maybe it will work for them, but that's why I am not sure I like the idea of going with a single piece of technology. One size does not fit all.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

The key reasons:

1. Security.

2. Service and support.

3. TCO.

4. iBooks Author.

Not necessarily in that order.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

iPad, iPad!!

Hardly the best decision!

0
4
Anonymous Coward

Best for who.... $samsung perhaps not, users perhaps?

0
0
JDX
Gold badge

Technology is fine but I wonder what this brings that a laptop doesn't - students will still need laptops to take notes and write essays, etc.

2
0

Predictable but important

If this was a few years ago and the university announced laptops running Windows all round, there would have been hardly an eyeblink. For better or worse, the default platform for tablets is iOS. Perhaps hard for the hardcore Apple fanboi and anti-fanboi equally to stomach, but Apple/iOS is the Microsoft/Windows of the tablet world. TCO of a single OS, single hardware platform, plus the existing tools for content creation (nobody mentioned iBooks Author, yet it is certain to be a key part of the case for iPad) is going to make a very compelling case for rolling out iPad. The real questions are much much harder than deciding to go with iPad.

There is a very clear tsunami rolling across the oceans of higher education right now. Most universities know it is coming, but I doubt anyone actually understands what will really happen, or what the right answer is. But the traditional university teaching modes of lectures, tutorials and practicals, plus exams is obsolete. What nobody knows is what the right replacement is. Access to very high quality teaching material from the likes of MIT, free on the internet, plus access to a wealth of other information that previously would have required hours a day in the library clearly outpaces the current model. But we should be able to do vastly better than this. Whether this means universities cynically reducing costs whilst maintaining a bare minimum education standard, or driving towards real improvements in outcomes and maintaining the current funding, that is a political matter. But not pushing for change is derelict.

I do however suspect that the UWS rollout is probably ill conceived. Content creation is not going to happen overnight. Indeed I would consider that there should have been a two year lead time for the training of lecturers in creation, and time to actually create the content, review it, rework it and then only roll it out to the first wave of students in the third year of the programme. Expecting the academics to be fully embracing the tools in time for a first semester delivery to the students is going to yield nothing more than Powerpoint slides of last years lectures available on-line. Something that will provide exactly zero improvement on the current regime. Freed of the need to actually listen in lectures students will spend the hours idly viewing Facebook and messaging their friends across the lecture theatre. It can, and should be, much better; but I bet it won't be.

1
0

A thought

If this is really about saving on the costs of textbooks, why wouldn't the considerably cheaper Nook, Kindle or Kodo be an option?

The things is, while technology for schools has advanced, the books themselves have not. Even in medical circles we have ponderous great tomes that students and professionals have to read through. Every once in a while a text book may stuff a cheap CD in the back with some low quality .avi files but it's a poor solution as you're still havibng to divide your attention between screen and page.

Perhaps rather than looking for new ways to display old content, we should be looking for truly interactive text books. Something openable on either a tablet or PC, with pages of text with embedded videos and an exam section at the end with immediate scoring.

HTML would be a good way to do such a thing as it has most of the right tools. The trick would be persuading people to put down Microsoft Word and thinking about how they can demonstrate, rather than talk.

0
0
Silver badge
Thumb Down

Re: A thought

"Something openable on either a tablet or PC, with pages of text with embedded videos and an exam section at the end with immediate scoring."

Like the execrable "e-learning" that many or most companies use to fulfil their obligations for DSE or other H&S aspects. Where a handful of basic points are presented mind-numbingly slowly with a skanky interface that looks like something made earlier on Blue Peter c1975, followed by a ridiculous "test" where you can't proceed until you've clicked on the right boxes (which hopefully have been scripted by a colleague: A, B, B, C, A, C, A.)

IME education software is amongst the worst, crudest, most misbegotten code still with us. Invariably designed by people who think VGA is cutting edge, and that 16 colours should be enough for anyone. There's a predilection for using nasty Adobe products, or having to install garbage like Quicktime to act as a container for crude, low res videos, an obsession with running in browser windows despite compatibility problems with everything except IE6.... ....the list of software crime is a long one when it comes to educational stuff.

By my expectation it is going to be a long time before educational software ever approaches its potential; A pity that the designers won't look at how the games industry produce interfaces and complex gameplay that youngsters can easily pickup in no time (downvote promised for anybody who makes THAT joke).

0
0
Bronze badge
Windows

Re: A thought

iBooks authoring package available free from Apple. Developed for education market. Makes it relatively easy to produce interactive materials, deployed over the student iPads. Probably part of the reason for their choices.

0
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: A thought

Nook = No, ok?

Simply if ALL they wanted was a black and white e-reader then maybe but if they wanted a device that could support colour, had a good web browser, could run other 'apps' then no. The whole iPad thing in education is also about iBooks author and easily distributing / updating the content.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: A thought

These days people may want more than just 'text' and simple black and white images - full colour, animated, 3D images you can manipulate, sound... this is the future. You should see some of the iBook Author books to get an idea - they are pretty amazing!

http://www.apple.com/ibooks-author/

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: A thought

"Perhaps rather than looking for new ways to display old content, we should be looking for truly interactive text books. Something openable on either a tablet or PC, with pages of text with embedded videos..."

Never heard of Apple iBooks Author? Add to that distributing the books / updated to devices etc.

HTML may offer some benefits but iBooks can be used offline, you get notified when they are updated and the 'Author' makes it far simpler for people to create them in the first place. Going from Word to Author is an easy step - expecting people to learn HTML and deal with different codecs / incompatibilities is something quite different.

0
0
IT Angle

@Ledswinger

Yeah, this is the kind of thing I'd want except a) with actually *USEFUL* content, b) put together to a professional standard and most importantly c) not a gargantuan pile of arse.

0
0

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.